I recently wrote a brief post about the increase in sales in Ozaukee and Washington counties from February to March of this year. While this is encouraging news, by no means are we "out of the woods" yet. Short sales and foreclosures are still numerous, and inventory is still high. So if you currently have your house on the market or are considering selling, it is especially important in these times that you pay attention to what is happening in your specific market.
If you truly want to sell your home, stay positioned ahead of your competition. How do you do that? Work with your real estate agent.
I try to provide my sellers with regular updates on the activity we have (or have not) had on their house. This includes requests for private showings, phone inquiries, and open house visitors. They all have continuous access to an activity report that provides a summary of this information.
Pay attention to the feedback that's given at private showings and open houses. What do potential buyers like about the house? What don't they like? Are the dislikes things you can change or improve (for minimal cost)? Try as best you can to compare your house to your competition objectively and recognize what your house has that theirs doesn't and vice versa. Take note of how long your house has been on the market compared to other homes that are on the market and that recently sold.
If there have been several private showings, traffic through every open house, and high internet traffic but no offer, pay attention to that. If much of the feedback about the house has been positive, but still no offer, pay attention to that. On the flipside, if the overall activity has been sparse, pay attention to that. Recognize that the market can likely not handle the current list price.
One of the most difficult parts of my job is making "that" phone call. You know the one -- when we have to discuss a new strategy, a price adjustment. Providing an up-to-date market analysis is the best way to see on paper where your house is positioned in comparison to your competition. And it shows you what homes comparable to yours have recently sold for.
While there was a time when we could rely on properties that sold as long as a year ago, that is no longer the case. Prices have unfortunately declined at a pace that now makes it necessary to focus on solds from the past few months.
When you can see on paper how prices have declined, it can be a very tough pill to swallow. But if you are committed to selling your house, acknowledging that a price adjustment is probably needed is a necessary part of the home-selling process.
Your real estate agent is there to help you sift through all the information -- to help analyze all the data. Work together to sell your home, not your competition's.